Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. Screening is the most effective way to help prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps and removing them before they become cancerous. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but screening for it at the right time can help save lives.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends adults age 45-75 years get screened for colorectal cancer. If you are older than 75, you and your doctor can decide what is best for you. How frequently you get screened for colorectal cancer will depend on the type of test or screening and your doctor’s recommendations.
There are a few different screening options. Talk to your doctor about which screening option may be best for you. Here are the colorectal cancer screening options available:
A colonoscopy is the most effective screening option. With a colonoscopy, your doctor can examine your entire colon as well as remove any polyps. You will need to do a colon prep for this screening option. If polyps are found, they will be sent to the lab for further testing and your doctor may recommend testing more frequently. With normal results, a colonoscopy is done every 10 years.
This procedure allows your doctor to view the lower part of the colon. This test only covers the last third of your colon and requires a colon prep. With normal results, this test may be done every five years or as recommended by your doctor.
DNA stool test
A DNA stool test is an at-home test that checks a stool sample for signs of colon cancer by looking for abnormal DNA. A version of this test is called Cologuard®. Your doctor will give you this test to take at home, where you will collect the stool sample. You then return the sample for testing. If abnormal DNA is found in the stool sample, you will need to get a colonoscopy to find the cause. With normal results, this test is done once every three years or as recommended by your doctor.
Fecal occult blood test (gFOBT)
A gFOBT test is an at-home test that checks stool samples for blood. Your doctor will give you a kit to take home, where you will collect several stool samples to be submitted for testing. If blood is found, you will need to get a colonoscopy to find the cause of the blood. With normal results, this test is done once a year or as recommended by your doctor.
As a Blue Cross of Idaho member, colorectal cancer screening is covered at little or no cost to you as part of your preventive care benefits. Please refer to your plan documents for specific preventive care benefits covered under your plan.
You can use the Blue Cross of Idaho member app to help you get important information while on the go.
With the member app, you can:
Posted: March 1, 2023